Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bus Driver Denies Assaulting Children

Jacqueline Harris Dennis

Here is the article, in tact, yet with emphasis added in bold type for analysis purposes, along with italics and underlining.  

Question for readers:   has an innocent driver been fired?

Raleigh, N.C. — A former Wake County school bus driver charged with assaulting two children on her bus says she did not touch either child.
“I'm not gonna punch no child in no stomach, that’s crazy,” Jacqueline Dennis said Tuesday.

Note first the verb tense.  She does to deny punching the child, but tells us what she is not going to do in the future. 

Note next the need to ridicule the action. 

The double negative is likely part of her subjective speech pattern and should not be used to discount the statement, alone. 

This is to avoid saying, "I did not hit the child" in any clear form. 

Dennis, 50, is accused of punching a 7-year-old boy in the stomach, twisting his arm, grabbing the back of his neck and shoving him off her school bus during an incident on May 12, according to an arrest warrant. She is also accused of shoving an 8-year-old boy into the metal frame of the school bus window.

The only thing Dennis says she remembers is a kindergartner getting upset at one point.

It would have been interesting had the journalist allowed us to hear her own words about memory because truthful people can only tell us what is in their memory. 

He was on the second step and I said ‘where are you going?’ and he said ‘leave me alone,’” she said. “I went on and didn’t think anything else of it.”

Note communicative language.  

We learn that the subject does, in deed, use past tense language, therefore, there is no deficiency in the earlier view of the future tense employed.
Next, note the communicative language. She said that she "said", not "told", nor even "asked", as a question.  Does this fit the context?
Finally, note that she tells us what she did not think, rather than what she thought. 

In account or event statements, truthful subjects will tell us what they did, said and thought.  When one tells us what is not done, not said, and not thought, we have some very sensitive points to deal with; possibly deception.  

Dennis was filling in for another school bus driver that day.
The Wake County Public School System placed Dennis on non-driving duty on May 13. She resigned from her job on June 19, three days before a warrant for her arrest was issued.
Dennis said she was blindsided by the charges. Her next court appearance is scheduled for August.

Here we have the opportunity to put the principle of Reliable Denial to the test. 

A Reliable Denial has three components.  What makes a Reliable Denial no longer reliable is this:

1.  Any change in the three components
2.  Any addition to the three components
3.  Any absence of any of the three components. 

For example, 

"I did not kill my sister, Joan." 

This is very strong. 

I.  The pronoun "I" is used
II.  The past tense verb is used. 
III.  The specific act or allegation is answered. 

"I know I did not kill my sister Joan" now brings in the additional language of "I know", which is to assert knowledge. 

This is unnecessary language. 

This is also to add to the 3 components, which means the denial is now "unreliable" itself. 

Unreliable does not mean that she did it, it means that this, alone, cannot clear her.  The interview would seek a reliable denial.  "I know" weakens the assertion and pushes the denial out of "reliable", statistically, to "unreliable", yet not to the category of "deception indicated."  Someone may have said, "we know you killed your sister!" to which she responded to the word, "know" in her answer.  

Her first sentence coming up is interesting: 

Two charges on two kids I know nothing about,” she said. “I am not going to lose any sleep over this because I know I did not do this.”

"Two charges on two kids I know nothing about."

Did you notice that the "child" above, has been changed to "kids" here?

Also remember to not interpret, but listen to what one tells you. 

She is stating that she knows nothing about the charges and does not deny assaulting anyone.  The use of "kids" is distancing language from these two "charges", whereas the word "child" is often associated with abuse, including "child abuse", and her use above, coupled with the lack of denial (violating component #2 in the first quote), should help readers get to the truth. 

She may not "know" yet the details of the two charges. 

I am not going to lose any sleep over this because I know I did not do this.”

She introduces the topic of sleep.  This is a very important topic to all of us as it relates to both physical and mental health.  It is what refreshes the body and the mind.  This is why when someone, in an open statement, gives the location of sleep, it is very important information and is often an indicator of a "refugee" status where the person has to go somewhere else to refresh herself.  We find this comes up in D/V cases for women.  

That she introduces this topic is important, but the importance increases as it is in the negative, as well.  She is concerned about losing sleep. 

"I know" is to, again, weaken the denial and then to move to "I did not do this" is to use "this", as closeness, yet it still violates component number three, the specific allegation addressed. 

Conclusion:  The subject assaulted at least one child and was rightfully terminated.  


Anonymous said...


Is SA admissible in a court of Law.


Red Meat said...

“He was on the second step and I said ‘where are you going?’ and he said ‘leave me alone,’” she said. “I went on and didn’t think anything else of it.”

This may be accurate ("second step" is a specific visual memory) but leaves out info. What it tells us is she did not discipline the student initially, he probably escalated his behavior, she overcompensated in her response. I know this is common in child care professionals who are poor at disciplining children. Peter, is it common in child abuse cases?

Statement Analysis Blog said...

nonymous said...

Is SA admissible in a court of Law.


See recent entry on McStay.

It is used in court, though not as a specific science. I testify, for example, as to why I concluded something, and if it sounds reasonable, it is very persuasive.

An officer can testify, like in McStay, that he spoke of his friend in the past tense.

A jury can go, "Hmmm" or "so what?"; so it comes down to the intelligence level of a juror.

I work for attorneys in litigation preparation as well as in questioning, which is in response to analysis.


just sayin' said...

He was on the second step and I said ‘where are you going?’ and he said ‘leave me alone,’” she said. “I went on and didn’t think anything else of it.”

Missing information - where did the child go after he was on the second step? what does she mean by "went on?"

It's unlikely that the child remained on the second step while she proceeded to drive the bus with him there. The driver leaves out what happened next. Her omission speaks volumes.

Unknown said...


You've mentioned before that education level of a subject can somewhat skew a reliable denial, and that it should be taken into account. Am I misunderstanding?

It appears in her "denial" that she is flustered, or simply on the lower end of the education spectrum "I'm not gonna punch no child in no stomach" but yet doesn't seem to suffer from the same level of poor grammar in her follow up statements. Unless of course her words are edited

Unknown said...

To me, "went on" is in the same category as "left" or "leaving" as, at least in the context of her words, seems as though she "left" to continue her job, not giving any more thought to it.

I could be wrong, but that's what it appears to be from my perspective.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


education is revealed through speech, this is why I wrote, later, that she does, in fact, know how to use a past tense verb.


Unknown said...

Ohh OK I missed that part thanks!

Unknown said...

I want to clarify that I wasn't being combative, just that I have an incomplete knowledge of that particular aspect of SA. Thank you for your response, Peter.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


I didn't think you were!

I enjoy questions. I don't always have the time to answer them, but I enjoy even the most basic as it shows interest and learning, which I love!


Statement Analysis Blog said...


Your question was the reason I posted this simple story. You ask what others likely were thinking.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply Peter.

Anonymous said...

I don't know nothin bout birthin no babies!

Unknown said...

Hi Peter,

Have you seen this story about, "The Watcher". A family from NJ claims that they were sold a house, that came with a stalker.

They claim that the previous owners of the home received an anonymous letter from someone calling himself 'The Watcher', 3 days before they closed on the property, and failed to disclose it to them.

(How do they know about this letter the prior owners received, and when it took place?)

They then claim that 3 days after they closed on the property they received the first of 3 letters from 'The Watcher', demanding to know why they were in the home, and taunting and intimidating them not to move into the home with their 3 young children. The letter writer claims that his grandfather, and father before him have watched the home, and it is now his turn.

The family is suing the prior owners, and several other entities, including the unknown party of 'The Watcher', and requesting a full refund of the purchase price, plus interest and costs/damages, along with retention of the title deed, on the grounds that they cannot live in the home, and are unable to sell it.

There are quotes from the supposed 'Watcher' letters included in the lawsuit documents.

Maria said...

Jen, That is very weird!

I read some of the quotes from the letter in the documents you posted.

Whoever is writing them seems to be building off of the legend of "Slender Man". Recently, in past year, there was a case where 2 teenage girls tried to sacrifice their friend for "Slenderman". I feel like whoever is writing the letters is familiar with Slenderman. As well as seems to be incorporating kind of the stereotypical "ghost haunting" story ie. ghost wants people out of the house, ghost wants things left the way they were in the house.

I think it is likely a teenager or young adult writing the letters. Or an adult who is interested in dark lore, Stephen Kind type stuff. And certainly may be a member of the household who lives there.

Maria said...

Sorry should say Stephen King

Maria said...

I am wondering if the author is male or female. The author may have some familiarity with Edgar Allen Poe "The Telltale Heart". I am leaning more towards the author being a bit older in their 30's or 40's. Educated. Interest in dark lore. Definitely has read some Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe.

The writing from "The Watcher" is actually somewhat chilling. This makes me think it was written by a male. Is it the father? It would be an interesting thing to analyze.

Unknown said...

Hi Maria,

It's a really weird story. It sounds like a bad movie script. Three generations of mentally disturbed family members obsess about a house, and haunt/torture the people who live there with ominous but vague rantings, and threats?

I also find it suspect that this appears to have all come about regarding the transfer of the property to the family that is now suing. I haven't read anywhere that the prior owners had gotten correspondence at any time before the letter 3 days before the closing with this family. That seem far too coincidental, considering 'The Watcher' claims that members of his family, and himself, have been watching the home for decades.

I'm think the letters are likely coming from someone central to the current owners. I find it strange that their lawsuit seeks to keep the property, AND be refunded, when their claim is that they cannot use the property. If I had legitimately received letters like these, I would want to get my money back, and move on with no further association with the home.

(On the other hand, if it were my 'dream home' as they have claimed, and I wanted to live there, I would spend at least some time and resources trying to identify the sender of the note, and evaluating the validity of the supposed threat. They could have the home swept for monitoring devices, or anything shady. Hire a private investigator? These seem like valid options, (at least as valid as abandoning the home, and suing, right?)

Maria said...

One other thought I had: The name "The Watcher" that the writer has given him or herself, reveals a lot.
"Watching" is an action, which would be most disturbing to the people being watched rather than to the one who is watching. It is interesting that the name given to the stalker by himself is "The Watcher", that somehow he perceives his own eeriness although he himself is not being watched. I think it does suggest that someone living in the house wrote the letter. In other words, someone within the house looking out at "The Watcher". In other words this is a name that the stalker would be given by a 2nd party who could perceive the watcher's eeriness.
Anyone else have any thoughts?

Maria said...

I'm sorry Jen, I posted that right as you were posting before I had read your post, going to read it.

Maria said...

Hi Jen,

Yes I agree! It is very suspicious, particularly since the 80 years of supposed stalking by "The Watcher" and his family have produced no negative or harmful or even noticeable actions of any kind!
Daily Mail had this as it's top story when I checked the news after being on this site. They have a picture of the house which does look somewhat eerie. Possibly this gave a creative mind inspiration to create "The Watcher".
It's funny how often the number 3 is used.
I absolutely agree with you, if I had received letters from "The Watcher" I would not want any association with the house.
They certainly would be able to sell it despite what they claim, they would have to disclose "The Watcher" letter but many people would not be phased.
I would be curious to know about any criminal record from the male regarding domestic violence or other offenses.
It makes so little sense why any outside person would have written the letter or even known exactly when the house was changing hands.
Certainly interesting to look at through the lense of SA.

Unknown said...

Yes! I'd love to see full copies of the letters.

Sara said...

These people are full of it. I don't think a selder has any legal responsibility to disclose a creepy letter. There are few things I've read that a seller must legally disclose. The seller needs to be awarded attorney fees when this frivolous lawsuit is dismissed.

JC said...

Hi Jen,

If you go to the link you provided it is now showing the full letters.

Sara said...

Hi JC and Jen
I went to Gawker and read the lawsuit but I didn't see the letters in their entirety, only what was quoted in the lawsuit. If you have a more specific link I'd appreciate it.
My take is that the purchasers sent the first letter to the sellers. My theory is that they wanted out of the deal without losing their earnest money/deposit. When that didn't work they had to up the ante and concocted the subsequent letters in an attempt to undo the purchase. I'm guessing they tried to back out before the title changed hands and the sellers said "No problem, but we are keeping the earnest money as is our right". These buyers are really angry at the sellers. The lawsuit is twisted and absurd. The lawsuit is contending that another party, "the watcher", is asserting ownership right to the home. Lol. As if the Title to the home wasn't free and clear, like say if an undisclosed lein was on the home. I'm guessing the purchasers are themselves attorneys.

Unknown said...

Thank you! I'll check it out!

Unknown said...

Hi Sara,

I was thinking the exact same thing! The buyers have knowledge about the sellers receiving the letter, and the timing of it, that they shouldn't have. (Particularly while claiming that it wasn't disclosed to them!) I think they sent the letter to the sellers to give them a reason to back out, and when that didn't work they sent a few letters to themselves to build a case for their claim.

This was my first thought, but then I wondered why they would close on the home if they wanted out, and I asked my husband what he thought. He said they likely had to put up a significant amount in earnest, that they would lose if they didn't close.

I also agree about the documents. The current owners are presenting their argument as if 'The Watcher', has a legitimate claim to ownership of the home. (As if there was a lien, or a partial owner of the property that wasn't disclosed.) It's absurd. I don't think they would be successful in their lawsuit, even if the letters were actually real...obsessive anonymous rantings do not constitute ownership, lol.

I feel really sorry for the sellers of the home! Who could predict that someone would try to pull such a stunt?! Now they are tied up in litigation, which is costing them time, money, and stress.

I also wonder about the buyers occupations. I was thinking lawyer too, or maybe screenwriter. ;-)

Sara said...

I did a little Google-Fu, mr. B is an insurance executive, mrs. B is a teacher. But I'm still betting there's an attorney in the family or close friend. I did find something interesting, though. I am unable to find any independent coorboration of this claim but, a website called The Fact Of The Matter wrote that the Broaddus's themselves DID NOT disclose The Watcher when they were attempting to resell the home. The author of the web site further claims that after making this assertion he was served with a subpoena demanding the source of his assertion that they didn't disclose either. The web author claims that the ACLU assisted him in quashing the subpoena. The source of the assertion has not been revealed.
Dang, if true, these are some litigious Mo Fo's. Makes me wonder who these Briaddus's really are.

Unknown said...

Interesting info! Thanks for sharing!

Sara said...

To Jen- more google results on The Watcher case. Turns out there IS a lawyer in the family, surprise , surprise. Mrs. Buyer (Broaddus) brother is an attorney. And not just any ole' attorney, but a very substantial one. He is the director of a firm with 201-500 associates. He is a former clerk for Judge Lemons of the Supreme Court of Virgina. In May, 2013, he was on the panel and a speaker at the NJ Bar Association giving a speech entitled "Consumer fraud act: Remedies and defenses for purchasers of property and home renovation contracts." Wow. Shocker.
I hope answers are found in this case. If the full letters are published I would love to hear Peters analysis. Maybe I've grown too skeptical from all the Fake letters these days, but this whole Watcher business strikes me as BS. The Broaddus's are so "fearful" yet this public lawsuit has garnered them more attention than they prob ever thought possible. Google alone gave me their children's names and ages, hospital one of them was born at, their parents+grandparents+siblings names, their family members occupations and employers, schools and university's attended, boards and professional organizations they belong to, etc. Their last name and her maiden name are unique and rare. Connecting dots was too easy. I could write a helleva Watcher letter, lol. This is why when I divorced I kept my married name as it is one of the most common in the US.

Unknown said...

Thanks Sara!

"he was on the panel and a speaker at the NJ Bar Association giving a speech entitled "Consumer fraud act: Remedies and defenses for purchasers of property and home renovation contracts."


I agree, all of these fake letters are blowing my mind. WHO DOES THAT!? I would love to see analysis of the full letters. I started to post some analysis of the quotes in the lawsuit, but without the full document, I'm hesitant. I did notice that in all the quotes provided, there is no direct threat. There is talk of a 'plan', and creepy questions about 'young blood', but nothing along the lines of, 'I will kill you and your children if you move into my home.'

The quotes available are unnerving, and scary, but they don't threaten direct action or harm. Some are even complimentary, and inviting:

"You've made it so fancy."

"Let them run the halls like I once did..." (paraphrased)

It's only logical to conclude that they would include the most damaging content in the court documents.

I can't get over the injustice of this for the Woods family. Selling a home is stressful, emotional, and full of compromise...even without any of this nonsense. Then to have something like this thrust upon's horrible.

Unknown said...

I also want to add that it saddens me that nobody in any of the comment sections, (or on the FB comments on this story) seems to question the idea that 'The Watcher' exists, lol.

ALL of the comments I have read have taken the story at face value, and are either speculating on who 'The Watcher' could be, (a neighbor, a hired contractor who place cameras in the home, someone who wants to buy the house at reduced market value, etc.) or questioning what could be "inside the walls".

Apparently none of them have taken the time to think this through, or question the validity of the letters, and the 'coincidence' that they only surfaced in reference to the transaction involving the people who are now suing. It's worrisome, as the buyer's have request a jury trial in the court docs, and if people are this gullible, the buyer's may actually succeed in this fraud!